Launching the Second Cohort of the Primary NYC Founders Fellowship

Our part-time, no-equity, peer-based cohorts get aspiring entrepreneurs ready to move onto serious building.

Primary Venture Partners
Primary Venture Partners
4 min readJun 14, 2021


Today we’re opening applications for the second cohort of the Primary NYC Founders Fellowship, a six-month, part-time immersion in business creation for aspiring entrepreneurs to supercharge the next wave of local startups. If you have an idea and a desire to start a business, we want to help you get on track to pursue a billion-dollar opportunity.

The challenges of starting a company from scratch can be overwhelming. Aspiring founders face a complex set of choices and decisions. But as a leading seed-stage VC firm in NYC, we’ve guided the journey several times over, identifying key skills that need to develop along the way:

  • Identifying white space. This starts with a vision for how the world should be, tied to a customer pain point that is specific to a market. Rigorously researching and validating your sense of white space is the first step to unlocking a massive business.
  • Establishing an early team. Who you start the journey with (and it could be just yourself) will inform every step of the way.
  • Developing a go-to-market strategy. This strategy must be informed by research, expert advice specific to your category, and early tests.
  • Raising money. If you have done the first two steps correctly, this part becomes easier. But it still takes work: developing a phenomenal pitch deck, building a support network, and completing a seed round.
  • Mastering the inner game. Starting a company is a demanding, complex, and psychologically challenging endeavor. Peer support, honest feedback, and coaching is all needed.

The NYC Founders Fellowship is designed to coach you on all of these skills to become an exceptional founder, making room for lots of analysis, experimentation, and peer support. If this is of interest to you, you have come to the right place. This program is completely tailored with aspiring founders’ interests in mind:

  • Part-time. We think it’s important to enable aspiring founders to explore their business ideas without the risk of quitting a full-time job. Aspiring founders deserve the chance to mitigate risk and explore new opportunities in a collaborative setting with no strings attached.
  • No equity. Primary takes no equity for being a part of this program. This is a platform for participants to learn, explore, and potentially start a business on their terms.
  • Peer-based. This program centers around the cohorts. Fellows will learn from each other and get consistent feedback from other aspiring founders. If nothing else, participants will come away with an incredible network.

Who should apply?

If you’re an aspiring founder with the beginnings of an idea and a desire to explore it further, we’d love to talk. We are interested in people who meet the following criteria:

  • Stage: You haven’t yet raised a seed round, but you have honed in on a target market or focus area. We welcome founders who have raised small pre-seed or angel rounds.
  • Location: You’re seeking to start a company in New York City, although you may be remote during the program.
  • Experience: You have “earned insights” and a competitive advantage in a market or domain from prior work experience.

What are the nuts and bolts of the program?

The program will last six months, with peer groups of four to five fellows each. The program consists of weekly peer group meetings, pitch sessions, and office hours with the Primary team. We are also thrilled to partner with some amazing New York tech startup experts, leading investors, and entrepreneurs, who will sit down for fireside chats and panels. Examples of events we held for the first cohort include:

  • CEOing with Shan-Lyn Ma and Rob LoCascio
  • Storytelling in the Early Days of Startup Formation with Ryan Denehy, Katie Reed, Anthony DiMare, and Andres Klaric
  • Women Fundraising Panel with Carolyn Childers, Nadia Boujarwah, and Krystal Mobayeni, moderated by Alexa von Tobel

All of this programming will be overlaid with our Startup 101 curriculum, a series of readings and content covering the most important basics of starting a company, including product-market fit, knowing your customer, business model, and fundraising. We are also thrilled to partner with SVB and Gunderson Dettmer, who will make presentations on the financial and legal elements of starting your business and sit down for one-on-one office hours.

We started this program because we want to reduce the frictions that prevent talented New Yorkers from building impactful businesses. We hope this opportunity enables some of you to make that leap and begin exploring.

To apply, please fill out the application HERE by Tuesday, June 29. The second cohort will begin on July 19.

Questions? Reach out to tobias [at] primary [dot] vc. We look forward to meeting you soon!



Primary Venture Partners
Primary Venture Partners

A seed-stage venture capital firm responsible for backing NYC’s most promising founders.